Internet security 2014

Symantec declares 2013 a year of mega-breaches and targeted attacks.

The Symantec Corporation has published its Internet Security Report for 2014.Symantec's data monitors threat activity in 157 countries and territories.  The report features a time-line of security breaches from around the world and analyses the number of targets of each attack.

Key findings

  • The total number of breaches were up 62% from 2012
  • A total of 552 million identities were breached in 2013 - an astonishing increase of 493% on 2012 figures
  • Data exposed included credit card information, birth dates, home addresses, medical records, logins, passwords and email addresses
  • Real names, birth dates and social security numbers are the top three types of data breached
  • Mega-breaches - Eight breaches exposed more than 10 million identities each
  • Massive growth in ‘ransomware' - scammers acting as ‘law enforcement' to levy fines up 500%
  • The Internet of Things - attackers are targeting medical equipment, baby monitors and smart TVs
  • Big Data is also attractive to cybercriminals

Social Media and mobile threats

Fake offers and click through online surveys are the most popular form of scamming used on social media platforms.  Other scams include fake apps, which require login information to be entered which is then stolen.  Malicious app developers find it relatively easy to persuade users to grant them unnecessary permissions.  The attraction of attacking mobile devices is that so much data is available once an attacker is on the device.

Reducing threats - best practice for businesses

  • implement a removable media policy
  • restrict email attachments
  • enforce a strong password policy
  • educate staff and users on internet security protocols
  • monitor for incursions and vulnerabilities

Reducing threats - best practice for consumers

  • Think before you click
  • Update your antivirus software regularly
  • Guard your personal data

 The full White Paper is available to download from Symatec.